Orientation weekend is a time that is filled with many things: excitement, nerves, and of course, one too many Wal-Mart receipts. One thing that is often overlooked, though, is that the weekend is also full of food, enough food to feed 600 to 700 people to be exact.
Along with the extensive amount of food that is required, Aramark and “Food Dudes” – the new name for student workers- also faced the task of setting up an eating area outside of the dining hall for this special weekend.
To make the long weekend a success, campus dining teamed up with Rachel Lee from admissions, along with extensive planning that started four weeks before students would arrive. Some meals even involved planning things out hour by hour, turning each meal into a time line.
“It’s all about making sure the staff knows what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. It’s about following a plan,” said Tamra Taylor, director of Campus Dining. “If you plan for it, it’s going to happen.”
Unlike a normal shift in the dining hall, orientation weekend came with a lot more heavy lifting and a lot less of the expected routine, said Food Dude Stephanie Lanman. “You didn’t have a set job to do so you’re more of a go-fer than anything,” said Lanman. “I think a lot of the students, instead of having one big job, just went around doing a lot of small things.”
The BBQ dinner in the amphitheater was especially difficult, according to Lanman. For that, the crew loaded up a U-Haul truck with all the gear they needed and brought it to the top of the hill where they could then set up. However, the crew didn’t have to worry about any of the tables or heavy set up, Campus care took care of that for them.
Along with transporting food at the right time from the kitchen so it could remain at the correct temperature the crew was also responsible for checking food lines.
While the work was hard and the hours were long, it was all worth it, said Student Manager Esther Gallaway. By the end of the week, the crew felt more like a family than anything else, she added .
“It was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be,” added Lanman. “There was so much to do and so few of us working, we all sort of bonded and came together to do what needed to be done.”